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Diller Paring Back IAC Content Division

The Daily Beast, College Humor to be Spared

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Barry Diller's InterActive Corp. is paring back its online content businesses, some of which will be shuttered or sold, according to those inside the company.
Barry Diller
Barry Diller Credit: Andrew H. Walker

As part of the cuts, IAC will disband its programming division, headed by Michael Jackson, the former president of USA Entertainment, who joined IAC to launch the division in 2006. Mr. Jackson is expected to stay with the company; Chief Operating Officer Nicholas Lehman, will not.

Those close to the situation said the cuts won't affect Mr. Diller's latest start-up, Tina Brown's "The Daily Beast," College Humor or the personal finance site FiLife, which recently appointed a new president, but comedy site 236.com and some others are likely to be sold or shut down.

The content businesses that remain will report directly to Mr. Diller, rather than to a corporate programming division. It was unclear how many jobs will be cut in the reorganization; several execs may be offered positions elsewhere in the company.

The move caps a seemingly erratic content play by Mr. Diller, who invested heavily in a slate of disparate start-ups over the past year, including The Daily Beast, FiLife, RushmoreDrive, a search engine for African-Americans, and Green, an environmentally themed social network for teenagers.

Some of those sites were conceived before the split of IAC into five separately traded companies, which itself was delayed by litigation by John Malone and Liberty Media over the structure of the spun-off entities.

Shortly after Mr. Diller emerged victorious from that suit, the economy started to tank. In October, Mr. Diller said IAC would shed some underperforming businesses.

"We're sitting around here now saying we're going to dispose of some of our businesses," he told the WSJ in October. "I'm not going to tell you since we haven't decided. But we're analyzing [the businesses] for potential size, the market they're in, should we bother with it."
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